Board members of South Florida Regional Transportation Authority approved a draconian budget for Tri-Rail: "reducing service from 50 trains daily to 30, ending weekend and holiday runs and completely shutting down the system by early 2011."
"Officials also disclosed that the Federal Transit Administration is threatening to demand the return of $256 million Tri-Rail used for adding a second track -- if service is cut below 48 trains a day."
Ironically, the fiscal crunch hits as the train is capturing new riders with hopes for expansion.
The commuter train serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties has seen its ridership double in the past three years, and plans include extending it to Martin County, if funds can be found.
"This is the first time in the system's 20-year history that officials are seriously considering ending the service -- formally started in 1989."
"Counties were planning to reduce contributions to the required minimums of about $4.2 million per county -- instead of the $7 million per county under existing levels.
''The counties will no longer be funding this agency at the same level,'' said Broward County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion, who also serves as chairman of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. "That's what the problem is.''
Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News